No matter how often you’ve visited Orlando, these top tips for theme parks can help maximize your experience at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Planning a trip to Orlando’s world-famous theme parks? Lucky you! A day at the parks is always amazing, but as seasoned visitors know, a little planning and knowledge can make it even more so. Whether it’s your first visit or you want to refine your approach, here are eight sure-fire tips for having the best theme park adventure ever!
Buy Tickets in Advance
Buying tickets online before you arrive can be a big time-saver — and Visit Orlando can help you save money on those tickets. In addition to discounted passes to Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, we have savings on attractions and experiences throughout the area.
Save on discount tickets: Orlando Theme Parks & Attractions
Spend Less Time in Line
Lines are unavoidable at theme parks, but there are ways to minimize those waits. At Walt Disney World Resort, purchasing passes in advance gives you access to FastPass+, which lets you reserve times for up to three rides and shows up to 30 days before you arrive at no additional cost. (Guests of Disney’s onsite resorts can make reservations 60 days out.) After you’ve used the first three FastPasses, you can use the free My Disney Experience app to set up more depending on availability.
Learn more: Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Universal Orlando Resort’s Universal Express Pass program is available at an additional cost for up to three parks on the same day. Guests of select Universal Orlando onsite hotels, including Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando and Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, get the service for free.
Learn more: Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
SeaWorld has a few different express upgrades at additional cost. Those under the Quick Queue program provide front-of-the-line access to select rides. Signature Show Seating, which gives reserved seating for popular events, is also available. Or, get the best of both worlds with the Signature Show Seating + Quick Queue Unlimited combo package.
Finally, LEGOLAND Florida Resort has two paid quick-ride upgrades. Fastrack Unlimited lets you skip lines on all rides all day, while the Fastrack 3-Pack eliminates the wait for three coasters.
Sleeping in is always nice, but there are benefits to arriving at a theme park before it opens. For one thing, crowds are smaller during the first hour or so, which means you can knock out a couple of must-rides before lines get too long. And in summertime, morning hours are the coolest hours.
An early start can also help if you’re traveling with small children. Once midday crankiness creeps up, take a hotel intermission. After a quick bite, a relaxing dip in the pool and maybe a brief nap, head back to hit up more attractions before the evening’s fireworks display. That way, you’ll still get in a full day without it feeling like a forced march.
Choose Your Footwear Carefully
A day at the theme parks is about comfort, not fashion, so make sure everyone in your group wears comfortable, durable shoes. For example, walking the perimeter of Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World Resort will put more than 2 miles on your pedometer alone, and that doesn’t come close to accounting for all the mileage you’ll accrue once ride queues, bathroom visits, general sightseeing and other considerations are factored in!
If you do wind up getting a bad case of blistered feet, all of our parks have first-aid stations where you can get Band-Aids and other ways to ease any discomfort. But prevention is the best medicine here.
They’re Going Left — So Go Right
It’s a time-honored maxim that most people move right upon entering a business ... but studies have shown the opposite effect when it comes to theme parks! If you take our third tip to heart and arrive early, you’ll usually encounter far fewer crowds, and enjoy correspondingly shorter ride times, by taking a clockwise route.
You’re going to want to take a lot of photos and videos while you’re at the park, so arrive with your devices fully charged, and bring portable charging equipment if you can. (If you forget the latter, you can buy one at all of Orlando’s theme parks. Some also offer free battery charging at guest services; check with your park for details.)
If you’re visiting during the summer, there’s always a chance of afternoon rain — fortunately, it usually doesn’t last long. If you don’t feel like carrying umbrellas or ponchos, be prepared to find a covered spot to relax if the skies do open up.
Bring Your Own Snacks and Beverages
Bringing your own snacks and beverages to theme parks can be a money-saver. Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and LEGOLAND Florida Resort have fairly open policies regarding outside food and drink — provided said food does not require heating and said drink isn’t alcoholic in nature. SeaWorld is a bit more restrictive, but baby formula and food is permitted, as is food for guests with special diets.
Don’t Forget Where You Parked
Orlando’s theme parks attract hundreds of thousands of visitors daily, and their parking options are correspondingly massive. If you don’t want to spend time on a needle-in-a-haystack search, make sure to note where you parked, or use your cellphone or camera to take a photo of your location. To help you in that regard, our theme parks’ parking lots and garages use section names and numbering — but they can’t remember the details for you!
Cover image courtesy Katie Ellison
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